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Multinational Conference on Improving the Quality of Public Servicers and Public Management (27-29 June 2011) in Moscow, Russia Paper to be presented By.

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Presentation on theme: "Multinational Conference on Improving the Quality of Public Servicers and Public Management (27-29 June 2011) in Moscow, Russia Paper to be presented By."— Presentation transcript:

1 Multinational Conference on Improving the Quality of Public Servicers and Public Management (27-29 June 2011) in Moscow, Russia Paper to be presented By Ricky Mukonza Department of Public Management- Tshwane University of Technology

2 Presentation layout Introduction Top public official explained A historical overview of public service in Zimbabwe Constitutional and legislative framework Political- administrative interface in the IG Politically neutral public servant: A myth or reality? European ad American experience African experience: Zimbabwe and South Africa Conclusion

3 Abstract In the recent past African countries that experienced disputed elections such as Kenya and Zimbabwe ended up with inclusive governments, also commonly referred to as governments of national unity (GNUs). A lot has been written on the subject and most of the literature generated focuses on the merits and demerits of this political phenomenon in general terms. This paper however, seeks to analyze how top public servants in Zimbabwe have reacted to the change in the country’s political terrain brought about by the inclusive government. It is a given in public administration and political science theory that the administrative stratum of government follows the direction given by the political stratum. The paper, however argues that top public servants in Zimbabwe have taken time to transform to meet to the demands of the new political order and this has had a negative impact on the operations of the inclusive government, thus to service delivery. It is further contended that until there is harmony between political and administrative heads, particularly in ministries manned by former opposition political parties, squabbles will continue to bedevil the inclusive government and service delivery will not improve as anticipated. The notion of a politically neutral public service is interrogated to ascertain whether it is feasible in Zimbabwe or elsewhere in the world for that matter. A qualitative research approach is employed through the analysis of different texts on and by the inclusive government and on the basis of the findings, a conclusion is reached. Experiences from other countries will also be utilized to further give weight to the arguments. A history of public service as well as a survey of the constitutional and legislative frameworks in Zimbabwe is given to give context to the arguments advanced in this paper.

4 Introduction The signing of a power sharing agreement between ZANU PF and two MDC formations led to an Inclusive Government (IG)in 2009 This meant ZANU PF had to share governmental power on almost an equal basis for the first time since independence in 1980 The Global Political Agreement (GPA) provided a legal basis for power-sharing The paper focuses on the relationship between ministers and public of officials Are politically neutral top public officials a possibility? A conclusion is drawn from an analysis of available literature on the subject matter

5 Top public official explained Top public official also referred to as top bureaucrat and top civil servant by different scholars Public officials- People who man government offices of a country Bureaucrat- refers to non-elected, professional staff and normally life long government employees Civil servants- Members of the public service (excludes uniformed forces appointees) Generally they are administrative heads in government departments and assume different names from country to country

6 Historical overview of public service in Zimbabwe At the dawn of independence the government was face with the challenge of expanding services Growth and Equity document and Three Year Transitional Plan – Socialist transformation One of the key challenges was lack of skills at strategic levels of government Black ministers were not willing to work with top public servants of the previous regime, this had many problems. 1989 Public Service Commission Kavran Report identified weaknesses in the PS

7 Historical overview Cont…… The Report showed that there was poor administrative and political leadership 1996 Customer Satisfaction Survey- Revealed little change in PS, the situation was worsened by ESAP 2002-2008, the socio-political crisis affected the PS Values such as, integrity, honesty and ethical standards diminished 2005 – Reforms that included, inter alia, performance agreements for administrative heads Leadership was also identified as important, executive training was introduced at ZIPAM

8 Constitutional and legislative framework Top public officials are guided by the Constitution of Zimbabwe (1979) and the Public Service Act (1995) Constitution Amendment 19 Section 20.1.7 gives the President power to appoint secretaries The MDC-T disagrees with this arguing that all top appointments should done through consultation The Public Service Act (1995) makes provision of top public officials called secretaries and the y are administrative heads of their ministries They are also Accounting Officers

9 Political-administrative interface in the IG The relationship between ministers and top public officials is important Thornhill and Hanekom(1995) wrote, “ An important phenomenon affecting the administration of public affairs is the relationship between the political head of a state department – the minister and the top official in his/her department….” Minister- Provides political direction, leadership, motivation, control and accountability for the department they are in charge of

10 Political-administrative interface Cont…. Top public officials- Act as advisors to ministers on technical and political matters, policy and resource management The coming into being of the IG introduced MDC ministers into government (some of whom did not have experience) They were expected to work with experienced top public officials appointed by the President (ZANU PF) and disputed by the other political parties The dispute was resolved by allowing the appointed officials to proceed with their duties This was a major cause mistrust and power struggles in the IG

11 Political-administrative interface Cont…. Minister for Energy and Power Development Versus his secretary, this was exposed in a Court case between Solhart Zimbabwe and the Minister The secretary of Information and Publicity, George Charamba versus the Prime Minister on the signing of a Bilateral Agreement with the South Korean government International Crisis Group (2010)- The secretaries have taken advantage of the inexperience of MDC ministers to determine pace of policy implementation in government Minister of Education versus his secretary on schools and fees structures

12 Political-administrative interface Cont…. Minister of Public Service versus his permanent secretary on manpower audit of civil servants There are some conflicts outside the period of the IG Minister of Information and Publicity versus secretary in 2005 Minister of Agriculture versus secretary in 2005 on a fertilizer deal Issues of knowledge and experience are important Personality variable is also key Good relations between ministers and their top officials is important in ensuring good service delivery

13 Political neutrality: A myth? When the conflict on the appointment of secretaries was resolved, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai remarked, “ …. We do not believe that civil servants should be appointed on a partisan basis, so there will be no civil servant for MDC or ZANU PF. Any civil servant who participates in partisan politics will have no p[lace in the public service, and I urge the Minister of Public Service to ensure that the appropriate measures are put in place to that effect” The statement shows that the Prime Minister envisages a public service that is neutral. Is it possible? Kalema (2009) says the concept of neutrality among public servants is not new

14 Political neutrality Cont….. The Egyptian Civil Service Manuscript of 3000 BC had the following inscription: “Be courteous and tactful as well as honest and diligent: all your doings are publicly known and must be therefore beyond complaint or criticism. Be absolutely impartial: always give reason for refusing a plea: complaints like a kindly hearing even more than plea. Preserve dignity but avoid inspiring fear. Be an artist in words, that you may be successful strong, for the tongue is a sword” Greek Philosophers such as Aristotle in Politics and Plato in the Republic emphasised the need for impartiality and competence in public service

15 Political neutrality Cont…. Plato in the Republic writes about “philosopher rulers” The ancient philosophers viewed politically neutral public servants as key to advancement of societal goals Kalema (2009) argues that the principle of neutrality evolved in the Western industrial economy and is associated with the evolution of multiparty politics Reforms in recruitment systems were instituted in Germany, Britain and France In Britain and later America neutrality became important because of continuous changes in ruling parties Dang (1966) states that the neutrality principle is entrenched in French History hence the French old adage “ le government change, la’ administration reste”

16 Political neutrality Cont…. In Britain, the Northcote-Trevelyn Report (1854) influenced changes in its public service – merit, non partisan, permanent civil service O’ Toole (2006) dismisses the idea of portraying public servants in Europe as neutral, disinterested and anonymous – this was only ideal Public servants were only human and have ambitions and had aspirations like all people In Zimbabwe, a merit based and neutral public service is envisaged

17 Political neutrality Cont…. The Public Service Act (1995)in Section 18 paints a picture of a politically neutral public servant The GPA states that secretaries are appointed by the President making them political appointees The political nature of their appointment and duties explains why a number of them end up occupying ministerial positions e.g. current Minister of Justice (Chinamasa), former Minister of Labour and Manpower Development (July Moyo), current Minister of Higher Education (Mudenge) This gives credence O’Toole (2006)’s assertions that top public servants were only humans and actually view their jobs as platforms to achieve their aspirations

18 Political neutrality Cont…. South Africa is a combination of British, French and American systems both during and post Apartheid Kalema(2009) argues that during Apartheid, although top public officials adhered to liberal principles, but they were highly politicised – the Director General’s post belonged to National Party members In post apartheid South Africa public servant are supposed to be “ faithful to the Constitution, non- partisan and loyal to the government of the day” (Republic of South Africa, 1995) A Public Service Commission was established to deal with personnel issues Appointment of top public servants is the prerogative of the President

19 Political neutrality Cont…. Disagreements arose during former President Mbeki’s era Between Minister of Home Affairs, Buthelezi and his Director General, Billy Masetla Recently, fall out between former Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda and his Director General Momudubi Mahlala Kalema concludes that top public servants in South Africa are political appointees The ruling party(African National Congress)’s cadre deployment policy also shows the political nature of top public officials’ positions in South Africa. Opposition parties, particularly the Democratic Alliance has been pushing for merit based appointments on senior government positions. They argue, it enhances service delivery The ANC argues that implementation of government policies needs party cadres who go beyond just having skills

20 Conclusion The paper has shown the existence of conflicts in Zimbabwe’s IG It has been argued that the idea of a politically neutral public service, though lofty, is not practical in the real world as top public servants are political The nature of their roles requires that they perform some political duties It can be argued as supported by Peters (1995) that top public officials in government must have a mixture of political disposition and administrative talent

21 Conclusion Cont.... The question on political versus merit should that of degree, in other words, to what extent should political appointments be made. In Zimbabwe, it is recommended that the President get inputs from respective ministers in appointing top public officials This will reduce conflicts in ministries and allow the IG to focus on more pertinent issues of stabilising the economic and political and thus create a conducive environment for improved service delivery


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